Academic Year 2011-2012; 2012-2013
Moran Yahav is a J.S.D. candidate at New York University School of Law, with research interests in legal and political philosophy as well as in the history and theory of international law. Her doctoral dissertation, supervised by Professor Liam Murphy, aims to develop an institutional theory of law in the province of general jurisprudence.
Moran completed her LL.M. at New York University School of Law as a Hans Kelsen scholar (2010), with an LL.M. thesis in legal philosophy. She received her LL.B., magna cum laude, from Tel Aviv University (2007), where she served as a teaching and research assistant in various fields, as an assistant editor of the journal Theoretical Inquiries in Law, and as the president of the Law School Student Senate.
Upon graduation, and after interning with the litigation group of one of Israel's leading law firms, Moran clerked for the Honorable Justice Esther Hayut of the Supreme Court of Israel. Later she served as the legal advisor to the Public Commission to Examine the Maritime Incident of 31 May 2010, chaired by Justice (ret.) Jacob Turkel. She is a member of the Israeli bar since 2009.
"An Institutional Theory of Law"
As a 2011-2012 Tikvah Scholar-in-Residence I will further develop my doctoral project in legal philosophy, which aims to develop a (partial) theory of law by focusing on a much neglected yet very obvious feature of it, namely its institutionalized character. Treating the question of the connection between law and morality as a second order question—one that is important but nevertheless proper to a later stage of any inquiry into the concept of law—will allow a focus on whether it is possible to identify a central feature of law through philosophical analysis of institutions and organizations. The aim is to develop a general theory of Law defined as (but) one institutionalized mechanism of human governance, which has been reinstitutionalized through (legal) organizations.
One contribution of this project may be to assist us to better answer a recurring question in the study of religious systems, by delimiting, questioning and explaining what (at least initially) appears to be a legal component within such systems.